"Government means always coercion and compulsion and is by necessity the opposite of liberty." ~ Ludwig von Mises
Badges of Our Slavery
Column by Paul Bonneau.
Exclusive to STR
The Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe had to wear a yellow Star of David. The intention was to mark them as inferiors, subhumans, slaves, and to separate them from the rest of the population. Are there other, perhaps less obvious badges of slavery? Do we wear any such, without even being aware of it?
We might consider the antebellum American slaves. At that time, there were also other “blacks” who were free, so it was not skin color alone that marked them. Likely it was a combination; skin color, condition of clothing, lack of cleanliness, even smell (since slaves probably had little access to bathtubs). Manner was certainly also important--shuffling gait, slavish speech, not looking people in the eye--whether the slaves in question wanted to act that way or not. No doubt in those times, free “blacks” took care to wear clean clothes and act un-slavelike so as not to be mistaken for a slave. Badges of slavery are a much broader subject than just some yellow armbands.
I’d be willing to bet most people don’t think of automobile license plates as badges of slavery, but they strike me as just that. Conforming unwillingly to avoid “crimes" known as mala prohibita is slavish, is it not? I’m not a slave because I wear a seatbelt that I believe it’s in my interest to wear; but I am if I wear it for fear of being caught or cited. I do not willingly put a license plate on my car. If I were free, I would put nothing spoiling the car’s aerodynamics and looks up front, and might display the anarchist flag on the rear. It’s irritating as hell we put up with these things, supposedly just to make it easier for the police to “catch the bad guys.” For one thing, it’s getting harder and harder to decide who really is the bad guy, police or “criminal.” For another, movement or use of a vehicle does not need anyone’s blessing or approval. Imagine a scene from the old days, a wagon train on the Oregon Trail. The wagons all have license plates on them. Absurd, is it not? It’s just as absurd to have one on your car!
How about drivers’ licenses and proof of insurance? As late as 1948, the people of Wyoming could legally drive without a license. Imagine all the carnage on Wyoming highways that resulted from people not having that square of paper in their wallets!
I myself have paid a fine for not having a proof of insurance in the car, even though I actually had the insurance. Keep in mind I would have had no trouble if I had had the bit of paper without having the insurance, the reverse of what I did have. Paper is very important! More to the point, badges of slavery are important. Ask any Third Reich Jew.
Oh, but the cops enforce all these laws for our safety, right? Strange though, that the same people doing the enforcing for our supposed safety, endanger people every day by going along at a speed twice as fast as the rest of us are going.
Another huge one, the “conservative” pundit’s hobby-horse, is government permission to work. Have I ever mentioned that the reason I never have been and never will be a conservative, is that conservatives love government far too much for my taste?
Another such badge is shoes off at the airport and submission to the perverts there.
One of the most important badges of slavery is the concealed handgun permit. You need permission to defend your family? Nothing could be so impertinent as to require such a thing. Even the cops who enforce such laws, if they spent half a minute to think about it, would have to conclude that neither they, nor by extension anyone else, need any bureaucrat’s blessing to defend their kids and wife.
Imagine an actual free country. No car would have a license plate, nor “important” bits of paper in the glove box--unless the owner of the car enjoyed having such things. No one would be worried about their gun “printing” and rousing the interest of a cop. People would spend more time on honing their driving skills, and less on conforming to bureaucratic minutiae. There would be no thuggish signs on the road such as Washington State’s infamous “Litter and it will hurt!” The speed “limit” would become a suggested speed. There would be no road blocks with drug-sniffing dogs and “cops” slinging M4s.
Is this such a horrifying picture? What are people afraid of? We cling to our badges of slavery like talismans to ward off the scary unknown of liberty.
Try to imagine it, people. Don’t be scared of the unknown. I’m sure you can handle liberty; you might even find you like it. As Jefferson put it, “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.” And, as Patrick Henry noted, “Fear is the passion of slaves.”
Throw off your fear. In time we may also throw off our badges of slavery.